I am sick of it – this vaccination debate. My convictions not to vaccinate have been firm for six years now and I was comfortable living a low-profile life and letting other more notable activists carry the torch; and then I started seeing misleading t.v. interviews, news stories, and backlash against parents and unvaccinated children. I saw reputable medical professionals get crucified and reputations destroyed for questioning the mainstream norm. I saw laws passed in other states removing freedoms that rightfully belong to parents and individuals as a whole. I saw fear, blame, finger-pointing, lies, and flat-out hate being propagated and encouraged by people, physicians, and popular media avenues towards parents who don’t vaccinate, and their children.
This isn’t a vaccination debate, it’s a hate debate, so let’s call it what it is. And when it got personal, I got involved. Most importantly, I felt the need to clear a few things up:
I am not an “anti-vaxxer” or a “disinformation activist.”
I am a parent. Some people believe that parents can’t make an educated decision on this issue, that you should check all of your questions and reservations about vaccinating at the door and trust your physician, that is unless your physician also questions vaccines (or supports a delayed schedule), then he’s a quack.
Despite what you have been told, it takes no credentials, no formal education, and no “M.D” behind your name to take an educated stance on this issue – it only takes a brain…and everybody’s got one. Of course, if you decide not to vaccinate you’ll be harassed and told to pull your child out of public school. Funny how we do have the credentials to educate our children but don’t have the credentials to make an informed decision about vaccines. So put your credentials away, you didn’t need them to have a baby, and you don’t need them to raise one either.
All medical professionals who do not support vaccines are “quacks, hucksters or bold face liars.”
This argument might have carried some weight when only one physician spoke out against vaccines; but today, there are so many that its conveniently suspicious that every single time a physician comes out in support of not vaccinating or recommends a delayed schedule they get attacked, discredited, and demoted to “quack status.” I’m sorry but these physicians sat through the same classes. They passed their licensing boards like all of the other doctors, many have the prestigious “M.D” behind their names too, but because they read the research and came to a different conclusion and had the guts to say so, they’re stance is somehow less credible?
Attacking these physicians (whether they are an MD, DO, ND, or DC) is a bad idea. It makes one look like a bully and nobody likes a bully – not on the playground and not in the grown-up world either.
Speaking of bullies, stop showing us pictures of sick children, telling us that there’s no link between MMR and autism, or telling us dramatic narratives of an “infant who almost died of measles.”
According to a recent study published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, these messages elicit a “backfire effect” that only strengthens our deepest convictions – which to be honest, are based on a whole lot more than the autism debate. Is anyone else offended that a study was done where these misleading and one-sided messages were propagated among 1759 people to see if it would convince them to vaccinate? Is anyone else offended that these same tactics are still being used on us?
I don’t call this the “backfire effect,” I call this the bully effect. If we’re going to have to view pictures of sick children, please include pictures of children who have suffered from vaccine injuries and death and children who got a “vaccine preventable disease” from being vaccinated.
Thanks, whether or not we vaccinate is now part of the “Mommy Wars.”
As if mothers didn’t have enough things to be divided over, you’ve made it so that wherever we go be it daycares, schools, or playgroups we are ridiculed, judged, shunned, and our children as a whole are blamed for the re-emergence of diseases that never left and for spreading diseases they’ve never had. You made this a “Mommy War” issue when you somehow insinuated that a woman isn’t a good mother unless she vaccinates her child. You made this a mommy issue when I had to kneel down and explain to my three-year-old child why she was being discriminated against. You made this a mommy issue when you supported and promoted the following hateful belief system:
“[On the topic of vaccines.] We owe it to our children–all of our children–to speak out against this dangerous and misguided parenting choice before more are infected with horrifying diseases that were extinguished decades ago. Choosing not to vaccinate is not yet another anodyne trend in personal parenting. It’s not a quirk; it’s a menace—and a growing one at that.” – Bethany via the Federalist Papers
You know what makes a good mother, one who actually educates herself, questions what is put into her child’s body and makes an informed decision (whether she chooses to vaccinate or not). Call me a menace, call me a misguided parent, and blame me for spreading “horrifying diseases” that are actually neither horrifying nor extinguished. If it makes you feel better to fuel fire and spread hate than by all means proceed, as it doesn’t make your side of the movement look very good. I will neither hate nor discriminate against a mother’s decision on the issue of vaccination. No, I will not be part of the hate debate.
In our society we’re taught, told, and sometimes forced to be tolerant…
Of other religions, races, and minority groups, people of different sexual orientations, women in the work place, and of a woman’s right to choose. We advocate bullying campaigns in schools to teach our children to respect others, but in the area of the hate debate, the voice of tolerance gets shoved aside.
In the last few weeks I have seen articles blaming “anti-vaxxers for measles outbreaks,” referring to us as loonies who have brought measles back from the brink of eradication (of course we’ll pretend that measles didn’t hit an all-time high of 222 cases in 2011 and that there weren’t 54 cases in 2012, and 189 cases in 2013).
An NY Times op-ed piece suggested that vaccine exemptions should be eliminated. A post on a Harvard blog last year suggested parents who choose not to vaccinate should be sued and held criminally liable for an outbreak traced back to their unvaccinated child…which is funny because I hear no one recommending the same for an outbreak traced back to a vaccinated child.
In a “TIME” op-ed piece we were labeled misinformed, spoiled, and peddlers of “junk science.” Article after article insinuates hate, fear mongering, and inaccurate propaganda that encourages intolerance towards individuals and parents who choose not to vaccinate their children. And what’s being recommended by vaccine advocacy groups is nothing short of discrimination and segregation:
We’re told that our vaccine exemptions should be curtailed, that they should be removed, that we should be forced to home school and prohibited from public schools and day cares. What’s next…will my children have to wear a patch on their clothing to delineate their vaccine status?
We all preach tolerance until there’s an opposing view. I for one will teach my children that despite what others may think of them, they are to neither discriminate nor disrespect another human being on the basis of one’s vaccination status.
“Vaccine preventable” diseases aren’t making a comeback, they never left.
In a TIME article the unvaccinated were blamed for “4 Diseases Making a Comeback.” Funny how we’re blamed for the outbreaks of diseases that never left. According to the CDC there were 222 cases of measles in 2011 (35-56% of which occurred in the vaccinated population), 54 in 2012, and 189 in 2013. As of April 10, 2014 there have only been 108 confirmed cases of measles. According to the CDC, measles isn’t a “deadly disease” it is “an illness characterized by a generalized rash lasting ≥3 days, a temperature of ≥101°F [≥38.3°C], and cough, coryza, or conjunctivitis.”
And what about mumps? In 2006, there were over 6,500 reported cases of mumps. In 2007-2008 there were a few hundred cases reported. In 2009 there were over 3,500 cases of mumps and in 2011-2013 levels returned to the “normal” few hundred cases reported. Between January 1st and April 4th, 164 cases of mumps were reported. Seriously…only 164? I don’t know about you but it’s looking like a pretty good year so far.
The CDC states on its website that one dose of MMR is only 78% effective at preventing mumps and that “outbreaks can still occur in highly vaccinated U.S. communities, particularly in close-contact settings.” My favorite part? “Almost all people with mumps fully recover after a few weeks.” Please, tell me again how deadly mumps is and why my unvaccinated child is to blame for the comeback of a disease that never left?
And yet, we’re also to blame for the whooping-cough outbreaks occurring in almost exclusively vaccinated populations who were vaccinated with an ineffective vaccine that makes one an asymptomatic carrier for the disease. According to the CDC, “the number of reported pertussis cases have been steadily increasing since the 1980s.” Other news sources have reported that the pertussis bacteria is becoming resistant to the vaccine and that B. parapertussis might actually be to blame for some of the outbreaks.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, even after five doses of Dtap a person’s chance of acquiring pertussis increases by 42% each year. Why didn’t I see this on the news? So, do we have an ineffective vaccine that’s actually causing outbreaks or is it the unvaccinated child that is making all of the vaccinated children sick? I personally think we should make sure before we start pointing the finger. Then again, I’m not a fan of the hate in this debate so maybe we should stop pointing the finger at children and start asking questions.
Finally, there’s chicken pox. Chicken pox is a very benign childhood disease that affected approximately 4 million people per year and had a death rate of 0.4% before vaccine licensure. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that even with the vaccine, 10 percent of vaccinated children contracted the disease anyway.
I’m so glad everyone has discovered that the whole “your unvaccinated kid is a risk to my vaccinated kid” argument is extremely flawed if one believe vaccines actually work; but now we’re being blamed for putting those who can’t be vaccinated at risk?
“Recently a 4-year-old girl with leukemia died from chickenpox. People with compromised immune systems have a greater risk of severe complications from chickenpox and may not be able to get the chickenpox vaccine. That’s why it’s important that these people be protected by herd immunity […].”
This was on the CDC’s website and is the typical propaganda being peddled around and used by others to emotionally manipulate, pressure, and guilt people into getting vaccinated.
I personally have a lot of issues with this type of propaganda. Death and sickness are horrible, especially when it comes to children; but we forget that children with severely compromised immune systems (as with the case of leukemia) can’t be around any sick child. Yes, my unvaccinated child could have a virus and be asymptomatic but the same applies to a vaccinated child. A child vaccinated for pertussis could be an asymptomatic carrier for the disease. A person vaccinated with MMR could have the vaccine-strain measles virus. A person vaccinated for chicken pox could shed the varicella virus and cause outbreaks. Save the last few years (when vaccines became above reproach), it was common course to recommend that a cancer patient avoid all contact with recently vaccinated children because of the propensity of live vaccine viruses to shed.
The chicken pox vaccine is a live virus vaccine that not only sheds but could cause chicken pox in a vaccinated individual – even if it’s a less severe case with only a few marks, this could be deadly to someone with leukemia. So who exactly is the risk here?
If you read the CDC’s “Summary of Principles for Vaccinating Immunocompromised Persons” you’ll find the following:
“Killed or inactivated vaccines do not represent a danger to immunocompromised persons and generally should be administered as recommended for healthy persons. For specific immunocompromising conditions […] additional vaccines, […] are recommended for them […] and higher doses or more frequent boosters may be required […].”
So let me get this straight, we’re being told that our unvaccinated children are a risk to the immunocompromised when the CDC states that inactive vaccines aren’t a danger AND that the immunocompromised should get vaccinated with higher doses and more frequent boosters than the rest of the population? What about Dtap/Tdap, influenza, pneumococcal, hep b, meningococcal, and other vaccines?
“For children who are severely immunocompromised or who are infected with HIV, DTP [Tdap, Dtap] vaccine is indicated in the same schedule and dose as for immunocompetent children […].”
“Because influenza may result in serious illness and complications for immunocompromised persons, vaccination is recommended.“
“Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for immunocompromised adults at increased risk of pneumococcal disease or its complications (e.g., persons with splenic dysfunction or anatomic asplenia, Hodgkin’s disease, leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, chronic renal failure, nephrotic syndrome, or conditions such as organ transplantation associated with immunosuppression). ”
“Hepatitis B vaccine is also indicated for patients whose renal disease is likely to lead to dialysis or transplantation. […] Periodic booster doses are usually necessary following successful immunization.”
“Routine immunization with the quadrivalent [meningococcal] vaccine is recommended for certain high-risk groups.”
“Other vaccines containing killed antigens […] do not pose a risk to immunocompromised persons and should be used for the same indications as for immunologically normal persons.”
So now that we’ve clarified that unvaccinated individuals do NOT need to be vaccinated with any non-live vaccine or flu vaccine to protect the immunocompromised (since these individuals can receive vaccinations), what about live virus vaccines and those with HIV?
“MMR vaccination is recommended for all children and for adults when otherwise indicated, regardless of their HIV status.”
What about certain medical conditions like renal failure, diabetes, alcoholic cirrhosis, or asplenia, which may increase the patient’s risk for certain diseases?
“Frequently, the immune response of these patients to these antigens is not as good as that of immunocompetent persons, and higher doses or more frequent boosters may be required. Persons with these conditions […] should receive routine vaccinations with both live and inactivated vaccines according to the usual schedules.”
What about varicella vaccine and those with cancer?
According to the CDC, the only people who shouldn’t get this vaccine are those who are severely ill at the time the shot is administered, pregnant women, and those with a history of allergic reaction to the vaccine. People who have cancer, HIV, or severe immune system conditions should check with their physician.
And what if an immunocompromised person (including one who wasn’t able to get vaccinated) is exposed to varicella or measles from an unvaccinated OR vaccinated person? For measles, one could get the IG (immunoglobulin). For varicella they could receive a varicella-zoster immune globulin (VZIG), and for hepatitis B one could receive a Hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG).
Did anyone even read this before they swapped one flawed argument for another? Let’s see, I’m supposed to subject my child to the hazards of 49 doses of 14 vaccines before age six to potentially protect a vastly smaller population of people (who are deemed more important) even though they can receive all non-active vaccines, can almost always receive live vaccines (or have been vaccinated prior to the condition), and have the option of using an immunoglobulin post-exposure?
I am sure there are a few individuals who want to be vaccinated and can’t (though I argue that most people who have medical exemption to vaccines want them) but is it ethical to subject the entire U.S population to the risks of a biologically invasive vaccine or a healthy infant who poses no threat of contracting a deadly disease to the possible adverse reactions of a vaccine? And what if everyone is vaccinated – how do you know if the vaccine was effective at inducing immunity or when it wears off? Will there be daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly titers checks? Even if one has titers they can still get the “vaccine preventable disease” and spread it, what then? Will adults have boosters too? How will we protect those unable to get vaccines from people shedding live vaccine viruses? How can we tell who’s an asymptomatic reservoir for whooping-cough? Where’s the recourse for those who would be injured as a result of this mass vaccination insanity? Is a physician willing to take legal responsibility in the event a vaccine injury occurs?
Until there is a comprehensive study comparing the health of unvaccinated children with vaccinated children, NOBODY should be requiring or recommending that anyone be vaccinated for the sake of “public health.” Almost a year ago bill H.R 1757 (a bill calling for such a study) was introduced and referred to the committee on “Energy and Commerce,” and it is still sitting there.
Please stop telling people vaccine injuries are rare and brushing off individuals who have suffered vaccine injuries.
Vaccines are associated with serious adverse reactions like: Blood and lymphatic system disorders, immune system disorders, myocarditis, nervous system disorders, convulsions, seizures, encephalitis (brain swelling), facial palsy, skin disorders, sudden infant death (SIDS), death, meningitis, paralysis, anaphylactic shock, skin and tissue disorders, eczema, lower respiratory infections, cerebrovascular accident, transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Bell’s palsy, aseptic meningitis, pneumonia, ringing in the ears, multiple sclerosis, myelitis including transverse myelitis, seizure, febrile seizure, peripheral neuropathy, herpes zoster, migraines, neurological syndromes, chronic arthritis, hearing loss, rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, neuropathy, and vaccine-strain versions of chicken pox, measles, mumps, polio, influenza, meningitis, yellow fever, and pertussis. For a list of other exciting (yet downplayed) reactions check out the package inserts here. To view the VAERS database where you will find more adverse reactions reported including deaths, click here.
Everyone knows a vaccine-injured child. Conditions we consider “normal” like ear infections, food allergies, and eczema were unheard of in the days of our grandparents. Asthma, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, autism, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy, brain encephalitis, developmental disorders, and neurological problems were also uncommon. So we traded in polio (which according to the CDC is asymptomatic in 95% of people who actually get it) for vaccine induced paralytic polio and cancer via contaminated Salk vaccines. We traded in chicken pox for shingles, anaphylaxis shock, and death; measles for brain encephalitis; and the minuscule chance an infant would get Hep b for rheumatoid arthritis and SIDS. Considering only a few hundred cases of measles are reported per year and only one child dies from measles approximately 8-10 years (if we’re going with the touted 1 in 1,000 number), wouldn’t it make sense to question the MMR vaccine which could cause Measles-Induced Neuroautistic Encephalophathy, seizures, coma, and death?
I am not part of the “herd” and neither are you.
Herd immunity was coined in 1933 by A.W Hedrich who observed measles outbreaks over the course of thirty years. What he discovered was that if 68% of the population had measles through the natural course of infection, the rest of the community (or herd) was protected. But you see, vaccines aren’t natural and they don’t provide life-time immunity, and even if they did 68% would be the number needed for herd immunity, not 95%. Your (and my) herd immunity was threatened the minute vaccines came on the scene.
“The “science” of vaccination attempts to secure immunity without going through the natural disease process. The vaccine-induced process, although not resembling a natural disease, is nevertheless still a disease process with its own risks. And it is not immunity we gain via vaccination but a puny surrogate of immunity. For this reason vaccination is neither a safe nor effective method of disease prevention.” – Dr. Tetyana Obukhanych PhD in immunology and author of “Vaccine Illusion.”
“This high percentage of individuals having long-term immunity [to natural chicken pox] has been compromised by mass vaccination of children which provides at best 70 to 90% immunity that is temporary and of unknown duration—shifting chickenpox to a more vulnerable adult population where chickenpox carries 20 times more risk of death and 15 times more risk of hospitalization compared to children. Add to this the adverse effects of both the chickenpox and shingles vaccines as well as the potential for increased risk of shingles for an estimated 30 to 50 years among adults.” – Dr. Goldberg Ph.D also confirmed by a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Please stop assuming that all people who choose not to vaccinate do so because they’re “scared” a vaccine might cause autism.
People choose not to vaccinate for any number of reasons including but not limited to, religious beliefs, lack of research and clinical efficacy, dangers and risks of vaccine additives, possible adverse reactions and the higher risk of an adverse reaction versus the disease, risk of vaccine contamination and viral shedding, belief in other methods of prevention, and lack of safety data surrounding the current (insane) vaccination schedule. And yes, some do not vaccinate because they fear that vaccines could contribute to or cause autism.
Wait, vaccines don’t cause autism! Are you saying that because brain encephalitis isn’t a reaction on the vaccine inserts or because you were a victim of the “let’s say vaccines don’t cause autism so people will vaccinate their kids” propaganda? Oh I know, you reviewed the results of the comprehensive study that’s never been done comparing rates of autism in the unvaccinated versus vaccinated population.
Those of us who believe there are safer and more effective ways to prevent disease are not conspiracy theorists, we just incorporated that little addendum to the germ theory that said “germs only live in environments conducive to growth.”
A conspiracy theory is the belief in little green men who walk on Mars and are secretly controlling our every move via invisible puppet strings. What we’re all tired of, is people pretending the American Medical Association has been around since the beginning of time and that everything else is “new age, pseudoscience, and conspiracy theory.” I hate to point out the obvious but the AMA has only been around since 1847. Before that, there were homeopathic physicians/doctors (1789) homeopathic hospitals (1825), and the establishment of the American Institute of Homeopathy in (1841).
Do you know what was around before all of that? Natural medicine – circa day 1 if you believe in God and circa day “the first time the ape-like human got a cut and put a leaf with spit on it instead of a band-aid and antibiotic” if you don’t. Hippocrates, the credited father of allopathic medicine practiced and advocated natural medicine – his motto was “do no harm.” So if you take beliefs from his ideology it’s “medicine” and if we take beliefs from his ideology it’s “quack-worthy?” If anything sounds like a “conspiracy theory” it’s the belief that the immune system requires the administration of a germ to protect itself from a germ.
Just because one doesn’t vaccinate, doesn’t mean they’re “anti-medicine.”
Medical advancement has brought us many things, some good, some not. I for one do not support vaccinations but that doesn’t mean I don’t support the advancement in treatment for these diseases should they (in rare case) be needed. Some of us simply believe there are other ways to prevent disease that do not require injecting a research and clinically ineffective substance that contains toxic additives, live viruses, and can cause a wide array of very serious side-effects into our children.
Take the HATE out of the debate.
If you want to encourage people to vaccinate than by all means, utilize your freedoms to do so, but bullying, lying, misrepresenting facts, name-calling, downplaying, overlooking, and scoffing at vaccine injured children, finger-pointing, discriminating, crucifying physicians who speak out, and threatening individuals who wish not to vaccinate will not further your cause; it will only encourage people like me to speak out on behalf of those of us who have educated ourselves and are calling for more accountability and higher standards for our children.
Vaccination is and should always be a personal choice. Everyone should have the right to do their own research, formulate their own opinion, and come to a different conclusion if they feel its best. Every parent should have autonomy over their child’s healthcare. Most importantly children should not be used as pawns in a manipulative scheme to get parents to conform to what was once a noble idea and is now a hatefully notorious agenda.